19 May 2005 I-SIL: features and capabilities of a long-range shuttle inspection characteristics lidar
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The tragic loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia and crew in 2003 has resulted in a requirement to inspect the Shuttle Thermal Protection System (TPS) on-orbit so that the crew may remain at the International Space Station (ISS) in the event of damage that might pose an unacceptable risk to their safe return. An instrumented inspection boom manipulated and operated from the Shuttle’s Canadarm will provide an interim solution for the initial flights. However, a longer term solution has been planned that will permit the required inspection to be performed from within the ISS through the ISS windows. This plan involves the Shuttle performing a pitching maneuver to expose the underside for inspection purposes as it approaches the ISS prior to docking. The central approach in this plan is for the ISS crew to photograph the Shuttle TPS through the ISS windows using high-definition cameras. As an augmentation to this plan, the ISS-based Shuttle Inspection Lidar, or I-SIL, is a proposed lidar instrument that will generate a 3D topographic surface of the Shuttle underside to enable rapid identification and volumetric analysis of tile damage to generate safety and repair data. This paper presents the mission requirements and derived requirements for I-SIL, analyzes specific details of the inspection requirements, and discusses various phases of operating scenarios. The conclusion of the paper outlines the current status of the proposed technology.
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Ross Gillett, Ross Gillett, Eric Martin, Eric Martin, Arkady Ulitsky, Arkady Ulitsky, } "I-SIL: features and capabilities of a long-range shuttle inspection characteristics lidar", Proc. SPIE 5798, Spaceborne Sensors II, (19 May 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.609448; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.609448

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